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The Federal Endangered Species Act

Barbara D. Craig, Resources Development, Environmental Land Management, and Permitting (1996)

Recent events in the Pacific Northwest concerning the Pacific salmon and the northern spotted owl have focused attention on the federal Endangered Species Act (the “ESA” or the “Act”),1 the sweeping legislation that protects threatened and endangered species from extinction. Two federal agencies have jurisdiction under the ESA. The Secretary of Commerce, acting through the National Marine Fisheries Service (the “NMFS”), is authorized to designate the status of marine fish and certain marine mammals. The Secretary of Interior (the “Secretary”), acting through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the “FWS”), has similar authorization with respect to all other wildlife.